Just As I Thought

… and we’re back

Sleep… sleep…
Not only am I still operating on a sleep deficit, but I need to start acclimating myself to London time for my trip next week. That means slowly adjusting to a 5 hour difference. My internal clock is wonky, it’s gears stripped.
So, here’s a weekend wrap-up.
In our previous episode, I informed you that I was working on a 48 Hour Film project. It was a long slog, with lots of problems cropping up. I knew that things would be difficult from the beginning weeks ago, when I was fighting with the director, my friend Jon, over a choice of production venues. I wanted to do it here at my house, where I have all the editing and video equipment in place. He wanted to do it at his place, a small loft apartment downtown over an arts center. His ego won, as always, and I packed my car full of video equipment, two computers, monitors, and supplies.
When the project started and we got our assigned genre (sci-fi), character (S. Baxter, photographer), prop (rubber duck), and dialogue (“You know, I love the…”), we sat down to write it. All 26 of us. Lesson learned: never doubt the truth of “too many cooks.” With that many people, being dominated by Jon’s enormous ego (and his rants of “I have won many film awards”), we were bound to have problems. And we did. Most of these people had never worked with Jon before and while they disagreed with him, were understandably not sure whether to question him. I, of course, have no such problem, and made my feelings known in the usual way: sulking and being pissy.
In the end, we settled on a story that we had thought up last year in case we got sci-fi. It was futzed with and not really fleshed out; but by the time we got it worked out it was Saturday morning and time to film. We headed down the block to 7th and G Streets, Washington’s Chinatown and home of the MCI Center. There, we filmed for 4 hours working our way down the block dodging crowds.
Saturday night was taken up with weaving together whatever usable footage we had — there wasn’t as much as I would have liked for one reason or another — into a relatively understandable narrative. I knew exactly what story I wanted to present, but I just wasn’t sure how to present it so that the viewer would get the message. Adam, our editor, did a great job of picking and choosing from the available footage to get us from A to B.
Sunday morning I started to bring it all together using Adam’s edit. There were definite problems with the footage, and to accomplish the special effects I had planned, we needed to address those problems. The easiest way to do this was to both slow down the action and create a strobing effect. In short, it gives the film an oddly detached look, as if it were created by hundreds of still photographs woven together.
The film had to be turned in at 7pm. Naturally, although I finished the final edit at 5, Jon had “just one more change” that necessitated re-rendering the entire thing… to my dismay, the powerful and speedy G5 said it would finish… “In about 1 hour.” That would have put us over our deadline. In the end, I pieced together the previously rendered edit with new segments stuck in, and managed to finish in time. We recorded it out to tape, and took it up the street — luckily, the wrap party where filmmakers turned in their tapes was only 4 blocks away. Amazingly, we still made it with time to spare: a half hour.
So, now I’ve given you a — believe it or not — short precis of my weekend. I could tell you a lot more, with a lot more details of why my right hand is all crumpled up and sore from using that damn mouse, but instead I’ll just invite you to screen the finished product. If you’ve got Quicktime, click to view Team GTTOTFD’s 48 Hour Film Project entry, “Signs.”

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